What Causes Cavities?

Cavities are formed when bacteria in our mouth eats away at the layers of our teeth. Left unchecked, decay can spread to surrounding teeth, below the gums, and eventually destroy the roots of a tooth, requiring it to be removed. That is why it is so important to take care of our teeth and gums, and go to two dental appointments every year. If you live in the Southern Main area, and need a dental appointment, please give us a call. 

Dental instruments next to a patient

What Foods & Beverages Cause Cavities

As mentioned before, cavities are caused when we eat or drink foods/bevearges that lead to bacteria staying in our mouths, and attaching to the surfaces of our teeth. Some specific foods and beverages to avoid are things with high sugar or acidic content this includes: 

  • Soda, Fruit Juice, Energy Drinks, & Coffee: While most people know about the dangers of soda, one thing that gets understated is how even fruit juice can cause problems. Many of the brands of fruit juices, lemonades, and energy drinks have high amounts of added sugars and are acidic. Acid and sugar together can destroy enamel quickly. Even fruit juices like lemonade or orange juice that do not have added sugars, still have high acidity. When you drink these beverages you will want to drink water shortly thereafter or brush your teeth to remove any of the beverage that is still in your mouth. 
  • Sugary Snacks, Chewy/Sticky Candy: Another thing to avoid is candy and sweets that stick to your teeth. The longer food particles are stuck in our mouths (especially with sugar), the more time bacteria can develop and eat away at your teeth. 
  • Starchy Foods: When we think about foods that cause cavities, it is easy to imagine candy or soda, but not many people probably think of a bowl of spaghetti or pizza. But starchy foods like noodles, bread, or chips, usually break down into simple sugars in our mouths. Combine that with the acid in tomato sauce, and a food item you might not associate with cavities, can actually cause some real problems. 

What Foods Protect Your Teeth From Cavities?

Unfortunately, there are no foods that particularly protect your teeth from cavities. Instead there are foods that can make your teeth stronger, and there are foods that are less likely to damage your teeth. For instance, leafy green vegetables like kale or broccoli contain high amounts of calcium that can strengthen bones and teeth. Additionally vegetables like broccoli are not acidic or sugary, so they rarely cause issues. That being said, any food or beverage can allow bacteria to form in your mouth. The best thing to do to prevent cavities is to take care of your teeth.

How Can Brushing, Flossing, & Mouthwash Help Prevent Cavities?

One of the best ways to prevent cavities is by brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash. Removing food debris and sugar that is stuck to our teeth frequently can protect our teeth from decay. Even during the day when you aren’t able to brush/floss, make sure to drink water between meals to wash away some of the food and sugary beverages attached to your teeth. Some dentists recommend sugar free gum as it can loosen food particles stuck between the teeth. 

How Can Your Dentist Help You Prevent Cavities?

Your dentist can provide a variety of impactful services that can prevent cavities. This includes preventative dental services. Regular cleanings can remove plaque that is stuck to the the teeth. Additionally, services like dental sealants and fluoride treatments, can strengthen the teeth’s resistance to decay. 

Preventative Dentist in Lewiston Maine

Our dentists provide family dental services for Southern Maine. If you have questions about any of the above information or would like to schedule a dental appointment for your child, please give us a call or use the button below to get in contact with our team